20 Apr Airing Pneumo’s Dirty Laundry
Article originally posted on PATH on April 17th, 2018.
By Lauren Newhouse, Communications Officer at PATH.
“An infant was brought in to me with signs of severe pneumonia. The baby was admitted and fortunately recovered. However, later we discovered that the baby had not had any pneumococcal vaccinations. Pneumococcal vaccines are key to pneumonia prevention.”
This year, the 11th International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases(ISPPD-11) was full of these kinds of stories. Stories of hope, sorrow, and science—all from renowned and upcoming researchers and doctors in the pneumonia and pneumococcal field. They came from far and wide to the symposium in Melbourne, Australia, in pursuit of a shared goal—to defeat a complex adversary, the pneumococcus. Pneumococcus is the most common cause of deadly childhood pneumonia and can also lead to infections of the brain (meningitis) and blood (sepsis). When we refer to pneumonia and diarrhea together, it’s because they are the leading killers of children, and fortunately for us, they share some of the same weaknesses, like vaccines and clean environments.
We knew this group of experts had powerful stories to be tapped and set out to turn the spigot. What came out was not a drip, but a deluge. We collected nearly 50 stories from participating experts from at least 16 countries. They displayed their stories on our clothesline—airing the dirty laundry on pneumonia and pneumococcus for all to see.
Their tales tell of saving and losing patients; seeing loved ones battle pneumococcal disease; advancing lifesaving science; and striving to make tools like vaccines (existing pneumococcal conjugate vaccines [PCVs] and new vaccines) and antibiotics available to everyone, rich or poor. Some stories celebrate progress to date and inspire hope, others emphasize the scientific rigor of tackling pneumococcal disease and pneumonia, and some will simply make you weep.
Check out the slideshow for the full collection, and in the meantime, here’s a sneak peak into what’s inside.
Just like the stories poured out of these experts, let them flow over us and inspire us to do our part in the fight against pneumonia and other pneumococcal diseases – and diarrhea, while we’re at it. Sounds like an excuse to air even more dirty laundry.